Animation and AI

With all of the modelling, materials, and rigging done Suzy has finally started to move on her own. While the animation outline isn’t complete, there are always a few animations that you can be sure will be needed. An ‘Idle’, ‘Walk’, and ‘Run’ animation will always be needed for a character, so that is where I started. Once those were done, I moved on to the 1D blendspace that would allow these animations to transition from one to another based on Suzy’s movement speed. While this is pretty standard, it felt like a big moment when Suzy was running around the test arena. With the basic blendspace set up, the animation Blueprint script could be started. This too was about as basic as it gets, but it still felt good to see her moving under her own, albeit very simple, control.

Much like the animation outline, the AI outline isn’t complete, but it is closer to being done than the animation outline. With a clearly defined expectation for what the AI needs to accomplish, Suzy’s AI should be much easier to create than if I had created the Behavior Tree and attempted to ‘wing it’. Preproduction planning will always pay off in the end. And, the AI outline will allow me to finish the animation outline with the confidence that I will have a definitive list of the animations needed in this project.

Being relatively inexperienced in Behavior Trees and AI creation in general, I thought it wise to complete one of the courses on AI featured on Epics learning portal. While I started “Introduction to AI with Blueprints” having some knowledge of Behavior Trees and the EQS system, the course was a big help. It was definitely worth the time that it took to properly study the material and go through the course. I had worked out a little of Suzy’s Behavior Tree before taking the course, but I had a suspicion that I wasn’t doing things correctly…and that suspicion turned out to be correct.

With Suzy’s animation Blueprint started, her base animations, and movement blendspace finished I feel more prepared now to attempt to create Suzy’s AI. And, creating the AI for this project was the whole reason for this project to begin with.

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